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Best Soundbars 2019

Don't settle for the tinny speakers built in to your smart TV. If you want to bring out the full audio quality of your shows, movies and games, you'll need a soundbar. 

After testing dozens of the best soundbars on the market, we've found the Sonos Playbase to be the best soundbar overall for those willing to spend a premium, thanks to its rich sound and versatility as a home theater speaker. 

For those on a budget, the Vizio SB2920 ($78.99/£100/AU$150) tops our list of the best cheap soundbars under $100. 

There are plenty of exciting new soundbars on the way for 2019 and beyond. The $179 Roku Smart Soundbar packs a built-in Roku player, while the upcoming $230 Anker Nebula will be similarly high-tech with an integrated Amazon Fire TV interface.

Whether you want to get lost in your favorite Netflix shows or want your favorite sports games to sound like the real thing, here are the best soundbars to pick up right now.

Best Overall

Sonos Playbase

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos Playbase

Best Overall

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 28.35 x 14.96 x 2.28 inches | Inputs/Outputs: Ethernet, Optical Audio | Audio Channels: N/A | Bluetooth: No (Wi-Fi capable) | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No

Reasons to Buy
Big-time bass
Clear vocals
Room-filling sound
Easy to set up and use
Reasons to Avoid
No HDMI
Expensive

The premium Sonos Playbase features just about everything you could want in a soundbar, offering room-filling sound within a slick design that will look great in your entertainment center or directly under your TV. The Playbase is big on bass and offers rich vocals thanks to its 10 custom-made drivers, and it does a great job doubling as a Wi-Fi speaker for any of your favorite music apps. Best of all, it can be paired with any other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multiroom experience, and supports voice commands via Amazon's Alexa.

Read our full Sonos Playbase review.

Best Value

VIZIO SB2920-C6

(Image credit: Vizio)

VIZIO SB2920-C6

Best Value

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 28.75 x 3 x 3 inches, 4.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm, coaxial, optical, RCA sub, USB | Audio Channels: 2.0 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Great sound for the price
Deep bass
Bluetooth support
Reasons to Avoid
No subwoofer

The Vizio SB2920 offers unbelievably great sound for the price, delivering an immersive soundstage, crisp treble and solid bass despite not having a subwoofer. Ideal for smaller TVs, this 28-inch also packs Bluetooth support for easy music streaming.

Read our full Vizio SB2920 review.

Best Under $200

Yamaha YAS-108

(Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha YAS-108

Best Under $200

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 35 x 5.1 x 2.1 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical, analog audio, subwoofer, HDMI | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: 27W | Wall Mountable: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Full sound from a compact form
Sharp treble and good bass
HDMI and 4K passthrough
Reasons to Avoid
No app support yet

The Yamaha YAS-108 offers an impressive amount of features for a $200 soundbar, including HDMI, 4K passthrough, a variety of sound modes and Bluetooth support for jamming out to music. It also packs excellent sound into its small design, offering crisp highs and satisfying bass thanks to built-in subwoofers that boost the low end without the need for additional speakers.

Read our full Yamaha YAS-108 review.

Best Small Soundbar

Polk MagniFi Mini

(Image credit: Polk Audio)

Polk MagniFi Mini

Best Small Soundbar

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 13.4 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI, Digital Optical, Ethernet, USB | Audio Channels: 5.1, stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No

Reasons to Buy
Powerful bass and clear vocals
Wireless subwoofer
Google Cast audio integration
Reasons to Avoid
No onscreen display or mobile app
Harsh treble

No soundbar packs huge audio into a tiny package quite like the Polk MagniFi Mini does. This unassuming speaker will fit seamlessly into any setup, and delivers crisp dialogue and deep bass with the help of its included wireless subwoofer. Plus, with Google Cast support, the MagniFi Mini doubles as a great home music speaker.

Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini review.

Best Alexa Soundbar

(Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha YAS-209

Alexa-ready for a great price

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 36.6 x 4.3 x 2.5-inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical in | Audio Channels: Stereo, DTS Virtual X Surround | Bluetooth: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Clear and resonant dialog
Excellent for music
Alexa inside
Reasons to Avoid
Lacks low-frequency effects when movies are playing
Only 1 HDMI input

The Yamaha YAS-209 is an excellent package for the price, getting you great overall sound, a wireless subwoofer for beefy bass and Alexa support for handy voice controls. The soundbar itself is one of the sleeker models we've tested, with a 36-inch design that should look great under most TVs. The soundbar's four 1.75-inch drivers deliver immersive sound for movies and shows, and its Alexa functionality makes it easy to control any smart device in your home -- even when the soundbar is off.

Read our full Yamaha YAS-209 review.

Best Smart Soundbar

Sonos Beam

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos Beam

Best Smart Soundbar

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches, 6.2 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, optical audio, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: No

Reasons to Buy
Easy set up
Alexa inside
Wide soundstage
Reasons to Avoid
Bass lacks detail
No Bluetooth audio

The Sonos Beam is a small, affordable and great-sounding soundbar that also doubles as a neat smart home gadget. This speaker has full Alexa integration, allowing you to, say, control your Fire TV with just your voice, or ask about the weather or control your smart lights while binging Netflix from the couch. It also delivers big on the audio front for its price, with a wide soundstage and crisp dialogue that will make your favorite movies and shows sing.

Read our full Sonos Beam review.

Best Atmos Soundbar

Samsung HW-N850

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung HW-N850

Best Atmos Soundbar

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 48.3 x 5.4 x 3.3 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, HDMI (2), optical | Audio Channels: 5.1.2 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: 372W | Wall Mountable: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Detailed treble and bass
Ridiculously loud
Reasons to Avoid
Really big
Slightly bright sound

The Samsung HW-N850 is one of the few soundbars that can replace a full home theater setup. Packing a big, bassy subwoofer and support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio, this beastly 48-inch bar will immerse you in your favorite shows and movies without forcing you to put a myriad of speakers all over your living room. Add in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI Arc support, and you've got an excellent premium soundbar that is as engrossing as setups that cost hundreds of dollars more.

Read our full Samsung HW-N850 review.

How We Test Soundbars

When testing soundbars, we play range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.

Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.

Understanding Dolby Atmos for Soundbars

More and more of the best soundbars are embracing Dolby Atmos, which is a surround sound technology designed to simulate the immersive 3D audio you'd get from a movie theater. The big difference between Atmos and traditional surround sound is that you'll hear sound move up and down and not just side-to-side, allowing you to get extra immersed when, say, a car flies overhead in an action movie. There are already lots of soundbars that support Atmos, including the LG SJ9, Sony HT-ST5000, and Yamaha YSP-5600. For more on the technology, check out our complete guide to Dolby Atmos.

What Soundbars Cost

You can get a decent soundbar for less than $100 (£100/AU$150) as long as you're not expecting much in the way of special features. Stepping up to the $200-$300 range will get you extras such as a subwoofer and virtual surround sound, though you'll spending closer to $500 (£500/AU$650) if you want fancy extras like Hi-Fi audio and 4K passthrough. Dolby Atmos soundbars can be found for quite cheap now, but higher end models loaded with bells and whistles can easily cost you thousands.